Moral development
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Moral Development. Feldman Module 11-1. What is moral development?. Changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors regarding standards of right and wrong Intrapersonal Interpersonal – regulates social interaction & arbitrates conflict. Is there Universal Morality?.

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Moral Development

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Moral development

Moral Development

Feldman Module 11-1


What is moral development

What is moral development?

  • Changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors regarding standards of right and wrong

  • Intrapersonal

  • Interpersonal – regulates social interaction & arbitrates conflict


Is there universal morality

Is there Universal Morality?

  • Yes, similar moral prescriptions are found in all major religions.

  • Civilizations will not success where there are no laws against murder, theft, and lies and no regulation of sexual behavior.


Does moral development require parental discipline

Does moral development require parental discipline?

  • Humanist Psychology says No - Hoffman (1970)

  • Cautions against Love withdrawal (anxiety)

    • Don’t like you; going to leave you

  • Cautions against Power assertion (hostility)

    • Spanking, threatening, removing privileges

    • Makes parents appear to have poor self-control

  • Recommends Induction

    • Reasoning, consequences

    • Works best with older children, middle SES


  • Other psychologists have different advice

    Other Psychologists Have Different Advice

    • Some strategies work better- Thompson

    • Warm-responsive parent-child relationships

      • Secure attachment linked to conscience development

  • Proactive strategies

  • Conversational dialogue

  • Other strategies –

    • Be a good role model

    • Foster an internal sense of morality

    • Tell them about expected behaviors

    • Use reason with punishment


  • Reasoning about rules

    Reasoning About Rules

    • Social Conventional Reasoning

    • Social rules & conventions are arbitrary & created by people

    • Moral Reasoning

    • Moral rules are obligatory, widely-accepted, and somewhat impersonal

      • Ethics exist apart from social convention


    Morality children rules

    Morality - Children & Rules

    • Turiel – 1978, 1983

    • 5-year-old children conceptualize the social world in three separate domains

      • Moral

      • Social-conventional

      • Psychological (personal)

    • They realize that the rules for each of these have different levels of changeability.


    Moral behavior among children

    Moral Behavior among Children

    • Factors (Behaviorist view)

      • Reinforcement & punishment

        • Depends upon consistency & timing

      • Models

        • Depends upon characteristics such as warmth & attractiveness

      • Situations

        • Children behave inconsistently depending upon peer pressure, likelihood of being caught, personal characteristics

      • Self-control

        • Convinced by reasoning, punishment


    Social cognitive theory of morality

    Social-cognitive Theory of Morality

    • Albert Bandura

    • Moral competence – knowledge, capabilities, skills, awareness of rules

    • Moral performance – motivation, rewards, incentives

    • Self-regulation – avoiding self-condemnation and fostering self-satisfaction & self-worth


    Moral emotion guilt

    Moral Emotion - Guilt

    • Sigmund Freud

      • The desire to avoid feeling guilty is the foundation of moral behavior.

      • Superego consists of:

        • Ego ideal – rewards by conveying a sense of pride and personal value

        • Conscience – punishes disapproved behaviors by making the child feel guilty & worthless


    Moral emotion empathy

    Moral Emotion - Empathy

    • Responding to another’s feelings with a similar emotional response

    • Examples of development of empathy

      • Some infants show global empathy

      • 1-2 years, may feel discomfort but cannot translate into action

      • Early childhood – add perspective-taking

      • 10-12 may feel social or humanitarian empathy


    Kohlberg s theory

    Kohlberg’s Theory

    • Heinz dilemma –

      • Wife near death

      • One drug might save her

      • Cost $200 to make; charged $2000

      • Heinz raised $1000, offered to pay later

      • Druggist said no

      • Heinz stole the drug


    Kohlberg s theory1

    Kohlberg’s Theory

    • Level 1: Preconventional

      • External rewards & punishments

    • Level 2: Conventional

      • Abide by internal standards of others (law or parents)

    • Level 3: Postconventional

      • Recognizes alternative codes, explores options, chooses one


    Kohlberg preconventional

    Kohlberg - Preconventional

    • Stage 1 – heteronomous

      • Moral thinking is tied to punishment

    • Stage 2 – individualism, instrumental purpose & exchange

      • “live & let live”

      • Equity of exchange: “I do you a favor; you do me one.”


    Kohlberg conventional

    Kohlberg - Conventional

    • Stage 3: Mutual interpersonal expectations, relationships & interpersonal conformity

      • Value trust, caring & loyalty to others; children like “good girl; good boy”

    • Stage 4: Social systems morality

      • Understanding the social order, law, justice and duty


    Kohlberg post conventional

    Kohlberg – Post conventional

    • Stage 5: Social contract or utility and individual rights

      • Values, rights & principles undergird the law; laws are evaluated by how well they protect human rights & values

    • Stage 6: Universal ethical principles

      • Moral standard based on universal human rights; will follow conscience rather than law


    Kohlberg stage 7

    Kohlberg Stage 7?

    • Cosmic perspective

    • See one’s self as one with the universe

    • Already a religious position -

      • Hindu, New Age


    Kohlberg s critics

    Kohlberg’s Critics

    • Link between moral thought & moral behavior?

    • Albert Bandura – people do not usually engage in harmful conduct until they have justified the morality of their actions to themselves

      • Socially worthy cause

      • God’s will


    Can morality be examined apart from religion

    Can Morality be Examined Apart from Religion?

    • Religion provides the assumptions which underpin moral reasoning and decisions.

    • Religion takes morality from individual to collective and universal.

    • Religion provides the authority for moral prescriptions.


    Kohlberg s critics1

    Kohlberg’s Critics

    • Rest –

      • Assessment techniques

      • What are the moral issues?

    • Stages 5 & 6 do not stand up across cultures

      • Example – Buddhist monks & emphasis on compassion

      • India – social rules are inevitable


    Kohlberg s critics2

    Kohlberg’s Critics

    • Haidt (2008)

      • Traditionalist [collectivist] societies expect individuals to limit their desires and play their roles within the group

    • “Western conservatives also seem to be morally challenged.”

    • Conclusion: Kolhberg has an individualist, liberal, progress bias.


    Kohlberg s critics3

    Kohlberg’s Critics

    • Carol Gilligan – gender bias

    • Justice perspective – male norm that puts principles above people

    • Care perspective – moral perspective that views people in terms of connectedness and emphasizes relationships & caring for others


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